A carpool centre for schoolchildren

Many parents drive their children from appointment to appointment – often several times a day. As this can quickly become very stressful, the French start-up Zouzoucar wants to offer a way out of this situation now. In the Volkswagen Incubator, the Transparent Factory’s start-up platform in Dresden, the company has developed an app with which parents can share the trips to be made for their children.

It’s the same story every day. Scores of “parent taxis” can be seen backed up in front of schools and sports clubs, during peak times in particular. Fathers and mothers bring their little ones in person and pick them up later. As many of them have one or two seats free in their cars and, on top of that, drive a similar route, this gave the French founder Fabien Compère an idea. “I wondered why we couldn’t bring these parents together so that they could share the journeys,” said the 46-year-old father of three. Specifically, he was thinking about an intelligent solution using a smartphone app that avoids the constant writing back and forth by e-mail or messenger.

Parents decide for themselves who they let into their network

Fabien Compère took his idea and put it into action. Under the name Zouzoucar, he developed an app that facilitates networking among parents and alerts them to parallel journeys being made by others. After having done some preliminary work in France, the project was given the finishing touches in September at the Volkswagen Incubator in Dresden. “We are already on the market in France and are now starting a test phase in Germany,” says Fabien Compère. The Zouzoucar app can be thought of as a carpool centre. Parents let others know when, for instance, they will be taking their child to violin or ballet lessons and offer others the opportunity to catch a ride. Not everyone, though. “An important aspect of our app is that parents themselves decide with whom to partner up and to entrust their children.” As with Facebook, friend requests would be sent when needed, creating small micro-networks of five to six people, says Compère, whose app is now already being used by 500 parents in France.

Emergency button for busy parents

Anyone who wants to get a feel for the app can download it for free. And this is something that is not set to change. Instead, some premium functions may be added later. “I can imagine, for example, a kind of emergency button that parents can add for a few euros. You press this button when you can’t pick up your children because, for example, you’re stuck in traffic or can’t get away from a meeting,” explains Fabien Compère. The carpool app is currently available in German, French and English. Zouzoucar is currently one of five start-ups that has been working in the third round of the “Future Mobility Incubator” of the Transparent Factory since September.